Vacancy Records [Release date 09.10.20]
It’s not the first time on these pages I’ve mentioned that in country music, pedigree is pretty important. They don’t come much more iconic than Glen Campbell – so being the youngest of Glen’s eight children, it is self-evident that the tight-knit Nashville country music family will hold Ashley Campbell dear to their collective heart.
It’s a double edged sword, though. It may bring attention to Ashley, a ready made audience who might otherwise have missed her, but there’s a risk that the heritage and the family connections become the whole story – in other words she has to deliver !
“Something Lovely” is Ashley Campbell’s second album, but the first release by a new country label – Vacancy Records. The cover has Ashley resplendent in one of her dad’s old rhinestone stage outfits (yes there’s that connection again).
Ashley first trod the boards as a stand-up comedian, but she is also a very talented banjo player, and no mean guitar player too for that matter. She toured with her dad – most notably on his farewell tour. In fact, one of her finest songs “Remembering” (included here) won a Grammy and an Oscar nomination as part of the soundtrack to the Glen Campbell “I’ll Be Me” documentary.
She’s also remembered in the UK from a couple of appearances at the C2C (Country to Country) festivals.
Her voice is very pure and true, if on the sweet and twee side – at times similar to the excellent Kacey Musgraves. They both share that “easy lyrical delivery”.
The album is perfectly pleasant, recorded in a high quality way, with excellent musicians and solid songs. I can’t help liking this, while at the same time just wondering if there’s enough about it to distinguish it from its competition?
Good songs abound – “Forever’s not that long” and “If I wasn’t” (with Vince Gill). The stripped back “Walk on By” and “Something Lovely” are very good, and “Moustache Man” is an instrumental featuring Ashley’s banjo skills. Maybe the cover of “Good Vibrations” is a risk too far!
Check out “Poncho and Lefty” on YouTube where Ashley does a terrific version of a terrific song (by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard). Great playing. Clean sound. It does kind of leave you, though, with a feeling that it just needs a bit more soul, or a bit more down home country attitude to break through in 2020. Glen Campbell didn’t abound in those attributes either – however, as I say, it’s now 2020.
Good luck to Ashley Campbell – I’ll be following how this release goes with some interest! ***1/2
Review by Iain McGonigal
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